Friday, April 15, 2011

PIFA Fun: Questlove Rehearsal & Natalie Portman & I at the Ballet

Yesterday afternoon I was invited to sit in at the open rehearsal with Questlove and Keren Ann as they prepare for their PIFA concert . The Root’s drummer and American journalist ?Questlove will join forces with French chanteuse Keren Ann for a one-time only performance on April 17th at the Kimmel Center.

The theme for PIFA’s celebration is “Paris: 1910-1920″, a time and place when creative emergencies virally influenced the state and production of creative arts today. In this video Questlove explains how he took a classic song and interpreted it with the current music today. He mentions important it was for him to attend the Philadelphia School of Performing Arts in preparation of his career. Above at the Larry Gold Studios in Center City are bassist and producer Anthony Tidd, producer James Poyser and ?Questlove. Also in the room were Larry Gold, Daniel Felsenfeld, David Murray, and Richard Nicols. Plus a myriad of reporters and bloggers. I always love watching Bobbie Booker from the Philadelphia Tribune, Sarah Glover from the Phila Daily News, Marnie Hall of, Jeff Fusco, Getty Images and Laiya Stclair from Buttercup Records, work. I'm really in awe of their talent. Sarah's multitasking now with both a camera and video, Jeff works with two camera's and Bobbie and Laiya had great questions for the team.
At the end of the session I ran, literally as it was rush hour and I didn't see a cab or bus getting me there any quicker at rush hour, to the reception held at The Star Group and hosted by the Pennsylvania Ballet for choreographer Benjamin Millepied, who is here working on a world premiere production with the Pennsylvania Ballet for the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts.
He was as beautiful and charming and the women at the party were swarming him like bees to honey. It's a good thing his squeeze, the very pregnant Natalie Portman, didn't accompanying him or she would have been toppled over. I did however hear that she was going to be at the ballet so when I was offered a ticket I quickly ran over to the theater for a glimpse like a giddy school boy. It turned out that she would be attended at intermission so that she wouldn't cause a stir as she walked in. She would be seated at the back.Well I only wanted to stay til intermission as I had Ryan Dorsey's birthday party to shoot at midnite & needed a disco nap beforehand. Could I possibly sit in her seats til them? Sure enough that's what I did. When I left at intermission I saw a commotion and only a few moments after the commotion walked by me did I realize it was Natalie Portman, Benjamin and a few other people I recognized from the cocktail party. That would be my only glimpse for her time here although someone sent me a tip the night before when she was at the rehearsal, but I chose to go to the gym instead. Friday she returned home to NYC and Benjamin left for Russia to work on his next project, this morning. Above L-R: Artistic Director Roy Kaiser (celebrating his 30th year with Pennsylvania Ballet and his 15th as Artistic Director), famed choreographer Benjamin Millepied, Anne Ewers President & CEO of Kimmel Center, Inc, and Michael Scolamiero Executive Director of Pennsylvania Ballet since June 1997. (This is what you would call the money shot.) You can still catch The Pennsylvania Ballet as it honors its Balanchine in Building on Balanchine tonight and Saturday. Info Here.
Also check out:
Gospel Concert – Friday, April 15 @ 6:00. We’re having a free gospel performance in the Kimmel Center Plaza featuring over 200 singers from Enon Baptist Church, a very well known entity in Philadelphia. The singers will be positioned on the tiers of the Kimmel Center.

Remember Paris – Saturday, April 16 @ 3:00pm. This performance is a real collaboration. It features live organ music as the backdrop for two silent actors who re-create pivotal moments in European history in front of a film screen. Very cool! Unfortunately, the program has been marketed as an Organ performance and has not gathered much interest outside of the classical music world.
Thanks to my advertisers this Month: PIFA, The Corner, CTO Band, Arrow Swim Club, Pa Horticultural Society, Del Frisco's, Kokopelli, The Sporting Club, Karen Gross, Anne Nikolaus Stella Dot Jewelery

Funnyman Jackie "The Joke Man" Martling visits the Legendary Don Rickles in Atlantic City

Last week you'll recall that I photographed Jackie "The Joke Man" Martling with Angel Porrino, from E!'s "Holly's World" at Invincible Pictures in Northern Liberties as they shot a commercial for Flixfling. A few days later he turned up in Atlantic City with another stunning blond, Emily Conner.

Jackie "The Joke Man" Martling tells me that he and Emily went to see Don Rickles at The Borgata Music Box on last Friday night and The O'Jays at The Hilton on Saturday night.
"Don knows me and heard I was in the crowd. He said, 'Not working on a Friday, Jackie? Tell your agent there's this great new invention...the phone.' "
After Don's show we went back to his dressing room for a quick hello to Don & his wife Barbara, and also met the legendary Tony O, Don's closest guy.
In 2001 I gave Les Paul a joke that he used every night from then until he passed on in June 2009. It's perfect for Don, so I gave it to him.

"I tried that Viagra. I made me feel like a condemned building with a new flagpole."

Emily and Jackie with the O'Jays


Last week I attended The Art Gallery at City Hall to celebrate City Hall: The French Connection and the coinciding juried exhibition The City of Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy (OACCE) presented two exhibitions in collaboration with the Kimmel Center for the upcoming citywide event , The Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA). City Hall: The French Connection, an exhibition of art and artifacts, is an introduction to City Hall’s French Second Empire architectural style. Something French, a juried group exhibition, features artwork with a French flavor. The French Connection exhibit runs from March 14 – May 20, 2011 in the Art Gallery at City Hall (Room 116), and Something French, located on the 1st and 2nd floor display cases NE corner, runs thru June 24th.Below Gary Steuer Chief Cultural Officer for the City of Philadelphia is greeting the packed house.
City Hall Tour Director (Rm 121 for tours), Greta Greenberger and Tu Huynh, City Hall Exhibitions Manager
City of Philadelphia, Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy. OMG so embarrassed I told you all months ago I would be volunteering and giving the City Hall tours and you know what I have not had a chance. Working on my blog & doing event photography has kept me so incredibly busy. It's a blessing, but I was surprised that I wouldn't be eating bon bons and watching Wendy Williams on the couch in between entries. Oh well hopefully I will get it under control.
The exhibitions in City Hall are a collaborative effort between the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy and the arts community. They are supported by an independent City Hall Exhibitions Advisory Committee made up of arts professionals and private citizens. In addition to the art gallery, other public spaces in City Hall feature artwork from Philadelphia’s schools, other city agencies, local non-profits, and community arts organizations on a rotating basis. For more information, visit: or join us on and
For weeks I have been excited to check out the Julia Child etching which is done in chocolate. So fun.Kari Kristine Scott is the artist and she's done a little ode to St. Julia:
St. Julia, Show me the wisdom of good, well prepared fresh food eating in moderation. Help me slow my eating down so that I can taste and savor every bite. Allow me to eat rich, buttery and creamy foods as long as I eat them infrequently, slowly and in moderation. - Amen
Joan Smith and Leslie Kaufman served on the City Hall advisory for the art show.
Marilyn MacGregor and Janice Hayes check out some of the glass ware
This is my favorite piece. Participating artists included: Mary Brady Begnardi, Lisa C. Budd, Carl Frankel, Ellen Gavin, Janice Hayes-Cha, George R. Johnson, Jennifer Lipman-Bartel, Rob Lybeck, Anthony Masucci, Anne Saint Peter, Ron Tarver and Alexander Trejo.
Ellen Carlson and Patricia Gunter were excited to participate in many of the PIFA events.
Colleen Branch stands in front of her work. be sure to check out the show. Enter City Hall at the Northern corner and check in at the front desk where they will give you a visitors pass.

This feature is brought to you with the support of PIFA (Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts). If you’re interested in the events, and want to help ensure that PIFA becomes an annual event please Like their Facebook Page and follow them on Twitter!

Thursday, April 14, 2011




City To Be Re-Named: POM Wonderful Presents The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, Pennsylvania

ALTOONA, PA, April 14, 2011- Oscar-nominated filmmaker Morgan Spurlock and his production company Warrior Poets have finalized a deal to purchase the naming rights for the city of Altoona, Pennsylvania, it was announced today. The city's new name, POM Wonderful Presents The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, will be effective on April 27, 2011 for 60 days and will be commemorated during a proclamation ceremony to be held at City Hall (130112th Street) at 1PM that afternoon. The ceremony will be followed by a special screening of Spurlock’s new “doc-buster” film “POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold” at the Jaffa Shrine on Broad Avenue in the city formerly known as Altoona.

After an exhaustive search, the city of Altoona was selected by Spurlock because it is “a shining example of struggling cities all across America.” The money received by the city for the naming rights will be designated to the City of Altoona Police Department.

Spurlock's new film "POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold" is a boundary-pushing exploration of the worlds of product placement, marketing and advertising. The film was fully financed by sponsorship deals documented and arranged by Spurlock throughout the course of the shoot. The film, distributed by Sony Pictures Classics, opens in limited release on April 22, 2011 and will expand across the country in the following weeks.

“I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the shifting tide of business in America than by purchasing the naming rights to Altoona. For the next 60 days, POM Wonderful Presents the Greatest Movie Ever Sold, Pennsylvania will be the most clever example of how an American city is marketing itself today,” Spurlock said.

“Altoona has a rich history and a great story to tell. Morgan is giving us a platform to show the world the hidden treasure found in the Altoona community,” says Altoona Mayor Bill Schirf. “Clearly, the people of Altoona have a sense of humor…and an asking price.”

The Junior League of Philadelphia Green Fashion Show - It was just as Fashionable in the Audience

Every year the incoming membership of the Junior League of Philadelphia hosts a gala fundraiser, this year the membership decided to do something different and host its first annual Green Carpet Event: an eco-friendly fashion show featuring the latest fashion trends at the Piazza in Northern Liberties. Proceeds support their signature focus Project GREEN: Using Nature to Nurture. The idea was superb and I know that a lot of work went into the project, but mother nature did not cooperated and it was freezing; There was an open bar and everyone seemed to want a hot toddy at the same time.
There were sponsor vendors surrounding the perimeter of the event including Duke & Winston's Seun Olubodun
Mary Ortiz and Rosa Martinez. I had to break it to them that there was no tent and that should pick up a pair of pants at one of the clothiers at the Piazza.
these two peeps are fashionably warm for this freezing cold night: Kelsey Clark & Rebekha Kocak sporting a JLMurfee $118 Lilly Pulitzer
Kaitlin Stadelman and Tara Stitchberry try their luck at the raffle
Check out those shoes, that's what drew me to Jessica Carroll with her blue suede shoes. With her is Nicole Wiley.
Lately I've been running into these two ladies, they're big fans of Table 31's Thursday night's Ladies Night party, check it out tonight, it's Rachel Branson, Esq. and Quinette Roberson.
Hot, but then again brrrr at the same time as the models wore designs from: Arcadia Boutique, Priscilla of Boston, Lilly Pulitzer, The Junior League Thrift Shop, Whitney Eve, Onassic Clothing LLC, Sagets Mens Formal Wear.
Sexy and walking at 30 MPH
Dressed for the evening: DJ and Anne Nikolaus
Definitely Lilly Pulitzer
Ought oh fruit of the loom peeking above the pant line. I guess this is the preppy rapper boxer look. Please make it stop, this underwear peeking out. Let's make everyone think we're going commando.
It wouldn't be a Jr League event without a little pink, complimenting couple colors.
I love this dress with the silver belt

Dress for fashion in the freeze
One of the fun things was the models were members or member friends of the Jr League, so there was a lot of support from the audience.
I let out an audible gasp cause I was not a fan of this dress. Who would wear it? I said.
Haley Hill piped up that she loved it and would wear it in a second. So I am not the purveyor of taste, thank god.
Love this smartly dressed couple
Amber Goins on the catwalk
The Junior League of Philadelphia is one of the leading community service organizations in the Greater Philadelphia area, with a diverse membership contributing a range of personal and professional experiences. It offers tested and groundbreaking programs that focus on the intersection of wellness and the natural environment. Programs are developed to have maximum impact, using experts in the field and innovative partnerships.
It was good to see my buds Matt Carter and my smartest friend Andrew "Currently in Harvard getting my MBA" Rosenthal. Looking forward to his return to Philly when he's finished.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

OPA OPA OPA they screamed as they broke the dishes at the Grand Opening of the Restaurant!!

Although the new Modern Greek restaurant-bar, Opa located at 1311 Sansom Street, seating about 70 people, has been opened for nearly two months, receiving rave reviews. But they held their Grand Opening on Monday night. It was hot, not only outside but the guests they gathered inside. The word "opa” is a traditional Greek exclamation of glee, used to express the carefree aura that embodies the Greek spirit. Owners, brother-sister team, George Tsiouris and Vasiliki Tsiouris with Garden Wellington-Logan and Noel Zayas
Breaking plates is also an act which implies abundance - "We have so many plates we can break them!" - similar to lighting a fire with a piece of paper money. Thom Cardwell breaks a plate for luck.
Vasiliki Tsiouris on left is joined by her parents Efthimios Tsiouris, Chrisoula Tsiouris, and Aunt Fani Zarvalas.

DJ Rahsaan - Afrotaino Productions
Allison McClellan, Erica Boland, Brett Coppol and Michelle Boyles,
Gloria Casarez and Louie Ortiz
George Tsiouris and Vasiliki Tsiouris with the Hamels Foundation G-N Kang
Opa’s appetizing menu includes traditional family recipes finessed and plated to contemporary standards. Among the mezedes include Gyros, served slider-style with grilled lamb, yogurt sauce, cucumber, onion and tomato; Octopus, cured, grilled and plated with a chickpea fondue and chili oil; and Zimi, a baked pita filled with feta cheese. Mezedes range in price from $3 to $14.
Matthew Vlahos, Lynsie Solomon, Jimmy Contreras and Evan Solomon
Karen Gross and Mike Donohue. Karen is at the Tin Angel on 4/22 to showcase her cabaret show. Also Eddie Bruce will be on the bill that evening.
Fashionista's Ultimate Glam bloggers: Tiffany Dawson and Amber Hankins.
Francesca Rivetti, Zivile Pupinyte, Elena Brennan, Bus Stop, Ivy Glass and Patty Gilson
Executive Chef Andrew Brown has been cooking professionally for 20 years and his culinary philosophy is based on simple freshness. Celebrated designer Jun Aizaki (who did many of the Garces restaurants), transformed the formerly vacant space on Sansom Street with the Tsiouris’. ”We wanted to challenge how people generally associate Greek restaurants in terms of concept and design by creating a global platform for Greek cuisine that is both authentic and modern,” says Aizaki. The colors and decor reflect the Mediterranean sea.